Book of Isaiah – Isaiah, son of Amoz, was a statesman, counselor to Kings and a prophet in the Old Testament around the 8th-century BCE. He apparently lived in Jerusalem, having a profound influence in the Kingdom of Judah.
Like many other books in the Bible, scholars question the authorship of the Book of Isaiah. While some fundamentalists still believe that all of the books of the Bible were written by the authors ascribed to them, contemporary biblical scholars generally agree that the prophetic book written in Isaiah’s name contains material from at least two other unnamed prophets, known as Deutero-Isaiah and Trito-Isaiah.
The Isaiah recorded in the Bible shows some hostility towards his political enemies, but this is tempered by his hope for a better future that he never sees… not in this world, anyhow. Wikipedia nicely sums up the bulk of Isaiah:
The first 39 chapters prophesy doom for a sinful Judah and for all the nations of the world that oppose God, while the last 27 prophesy the restoration of the nation of Israel and a new creation in God’s glorious future kingdom; this section includes the Songs of the Suffering Servant, four separate passages referring to the nation of Israel, interpreted by Christians as prefiguring the coming of Jesus Christ.¹
In Trito-Isaiah God reveals his total sovereignty over human life and thought:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are my ways your ways, says the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.²
After the Assyrian invasion of 701 BCE, it is generally believed that Isaiah was martyred.
² Isaiah 55 : 8-9 . This is one of my favorite Biblical passages and it was instrumental in my conversion to Catholicism. During a transitional stage in my life a non-Catholic Christian, quite out of the blue, suggested I read Isaiah 55 : 6-9. When I did, the power of the words hit me hard and I eventually converted to Catholicism. Interestingly, the numbers 55 and 69 had already been personally significant for several years prior, in a sort of ongoing synchronistic way. So hearing the Christian suggest I read that particular passage, and the effect it had on me, contained special significance. It seems that God usually works that way (MC).
- Book of Isaiah (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz (sharperthanatwoedgedsword.wordpress.com)
- Fear Leads To Spiritual Darkness (nweatherhead.wordpress.com)
- The Beginning (discoveringisaiah.wordpress.com)
- Starting Monday off with a message from God (aliendad.wordpress.com)
- “What should we learn from the life of Isaiah?” (altruistico.wordpress.com)
- Who is the “Man of Sorrows” in Isaiah 53? (verse4psalm37.wordpress.com)
- Status Report Day 98 (journeyofthebible.wordpress.com)
The word Bible comes from the Latin after the Greek biblia, or “books.” Biblia is a form of byblos, meaning the papyrus paper exported from the ancient Phoenician port city of Biblos.
Also known as the Holy Bible, the Bible is a collection of writings complied over centuries, containing the Sacred Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity. Although some fundamentalists don’t like to explore the idea, mature biblical scholars, using various archeological findings and scholarly techniques, generally agree that many books of the Bible attributed to one author were likely not written by that author; possibly they were written by many authors and compiled over time.
The debates are fast and sometimes furious. But to most sober-minded people, it seems that in many books, the Bible did not drop down from God into mind of a single prophet/author.
This assertion does not, however, necessarily mean that the Bible does not come from God. Not unlike the idea of intelligent design (vs. creationism), the evolution of the Bible could very well have been overseen or, if you prefer the religious word, inspired by the Lord.
Jews and Christians each use the word “bible” but the Jewish scriptures and the Christian Bible differ.
The 39 books of Jewish Scripture are written in Hebrew, except for a few passages in Daniel and Ezra, which are written in Aramaic.
The Old Testament (or Jewish Bible) recounts God’s involvement with mankind from creation to the beginning of the Israelite’s religion, up to around the 2nd-century BCE.
The Christian Bible contains the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament. The New Testament is regarded by Christians as a “new covenant” between God and his people, focusing on the teachings and example of Jesus Christ and the formation of his early apostolic church.
Several early texts competed for inclusion into the orthodox canon. The Old Testament was not decided upon until 100 CE, at the council of Jabneh. Disagreements continued until 1546, however, at which time the council of Trent declared several books as canonical which Protestants would later regard as apocryphal (texts not recognized as holy scripture but containing some merit).
The Old Testament used by the Roman Catholic Church is the Jewish Bible plus seven other books (and additions); some of the additional books were originally written in Greek, as was the New Testament.
The Old Testament used by Protestants consists of the 39 books of the Jewish Bible. The remaining, unused books and additions are called the Apocrypha by Protestants, which are generally known as deuterocanonical books by Roman Catholics. However, many Catholics use the word Apocrypha to describe all that lies outside their Authorized Bible.
An early indication of a canonical list matching today’s New Testament is found in the 39th Easter letter of Athanasius in 367 CE, designating 27 books of the New Testament in addition to the Old Testament canon.
The New Testament (Christian Scripture)
The Gospels and Acts
Acts of the Apostles
The Epistles or Letters
Book of Revelation or Apocalypse of St John
The Old Testament (Christian and Jewish Scripture)
Books of the Law (known as the Pentateuch)
Books of Poetry and Wisdom
Song of Solomon
Books of the Prophets
Additions to Esther
Wisdom of Solomon
Epistle of Jeremiah
Prayer of Azariah
Song of the Three Young Men
History of Susanna
Bel and the Dragon
Prayer of the Manasseh
† The Roman Catholic Church includes Tobit, Judith, all of Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus and Baruch in its canon.
- Part I: Is the Bible the Inspired Word of God? (thesimplewomansdaybook.com)
- Facts You Didn’t Know About the Accuracy of the Old Testament (vineoflife.net)
- What’s Missing from “A New New Testament”? (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
- HarperOne’s Bible e-book sale (bltnotjustasandwich.com)
- Reloading the Canon? (mtsweat.com)
- Outline for first bible study class – Comments? (grizzersbiblethoughts.wordpress.com)
- Biblica Cleans Up the Bible with New “Books of the Bible” Release (christianwritingtoday.com)
- Bible format – trying to understand it (revivers.wordpress.com)
- The Deutero-canonical books of the Bible: dispelling a Protestant myth. (1catholicsalmon.com)
- Contradictions in the Bible (richarddawkins.net)
The story goes like this: Cain and his brother Abel make sacrificial offerings but only Abel’s is acceptable to God. Cain then murders Abel, and the Lord casts him out of the land, placing a special mark on his forehead to protect him from those who might try to harm him for murdering his pious, peaceful brother.
Cain goes on to found a city, becoming materially prosperous but forever alienated from his Maker. He’s mentioned later in the Old Testament Song of Lamech (Gen. 4:24) as the epitome of revenge. He’s also alluded to in the New Testament as “of the evil one” (John 3:12).
In pop culture, Caine (Kwai Chang Caine) is the name of a TV character played by the late actor David Carradine in the 1970′s TV series, Kung Fu. This TV Cain, also known as “Grasshopper” is a wandering Shaolin monk in early America.
Although Caine has killed the Emperor’s nephew in a act of rage back in China,¹ he becomes an advocate of peace in America. But this new mission in the New World doesn’t prevent him from kicking the daylights out of bad guys in acts of self defense.
The show became something of a cult classic and several spinoffs followed.
The idea of Cain as an archetype of evil is not limited to the Bible and TV. More examples in pop culture and literature can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cain_and_Abel#Popular_culture
Related Posts » Gemini
¹ From Wikipedia: “In the pilot episode Caine’s beloved mentor and elder, Master Po, is murdered by the Emperor’s nephew; outraged, Caine retaliates by killing the nephew. With a price on his head, Caine flees China to the western United States.”
Divination (from Latin divinare “to foresee, to be supernaturally inspired”) is trying to tell the future, locating lost objects or revealing hidden personality traits through magical or spiritual means, usually with the aid of a special technique. Divination appears in most societies throughout human history. The practice is so widespread that it’s found among the very first literature cultures. S. G. F. Brandon suggests that divination takes two main forms, which he calls automatic and interrogation of divine intent.¹
Some religions frown on the practice, or have come to frown on it by claiming to progressively “perfect,” “complete” or “fulfill” its imperfect religious roots (Christianity being a prime example). But for the most part, divination has been condoned or encouraged by zealous leaders and layperson alike, eager to know what life has in store for them, and how they should best decide on certain issues.
Delphi was home to the famous Dephic oracle. In Tibet, state temples were devoted to divination. In ancient China the I Ching was developed. In Africa oracles and female mediums were consulted. In the ancient Near East animal entrails were examined, their form and condition apparently foretelling future events.
The ancient Romans were mostly concerned with determining the gods’ attitudes towards certain acts. Auspicia were favorable omens (usually the flight of birds) that only senior Roman magistrates could interpret. Prodigia, on the other hand, were evil omens interpreted by the Roman elite, the effects of which could be avoided by civic piety and priestly skill. Augurs involved observing animals, in general, to receive a sign that would help in deciding action in public and private affairs. The Romans, however, were not bound to accept a given augur. They could reject it if they wished, and act on their own accord.²
In the New Testament we have the indisputable example of the Three Wise Men following the star that lead them to bear gifts to Jesus Christ. Despite this, the Protestant Reformer John Calvin wrote the “Warning Against So-Called Judicial Astrology” in 1549. And Pope Sixtus V officially condemned all forms of divination in 1586.³
Several centuries prior, St. Francis of Assisi apparently opened the Bible at random every morning and read a verse, believing that God directed him to the passage that would set the right tone for his actions through the day.
In a similar vein, the Swiss psychiatrist C. G. Jung believed a spiritus rector lead him to open books at the right page, turn on the radio at the precisely right moment, and so on, in order for meaningful coincidences (synchronicities) to take place.
¹ S. G. F. Brandon (ed.) Dictionary of Comparative Religion, 1971, pp. 115, 243.
² Ibid. The entry on divination gives many more examples, as does Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divination
³Duby and Perrot (eds.) A History of Women, Vol 3, 2000, p. 455.
Daniel is a central figure who interprets dreams and visions in the Old Testament Book of Daniel. The book was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic by an unknown author.
One of the more memorable stories appears in sixth chapter, where Daniel is protected from ferocious lions while held captive in their den. Through a divine miracle he remains untouched.
While more mystically inclined Christians would take this as a demonstration of the power of faith in a God who can work miracles when he so chooses, the more worldly type of Christian tends to see the story as representing Israel’s protection from heathen kingdoms (symbolized by the beasts).
The story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den has captivated artists throughout the ages.
The first image by the London born Briton Rivière (1840–1920) posted above shows a serene Daniel standing supremely confident in the power of God’s saving grace. By way of contrast, this second image by the Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) shows a more human Daniel, fervently praying while almost naked, and looking understandably afraid.
- In the Den (bongodogblog.com)
- Historic Minas Gerais: CONGONHAS (07): The Twelve Prophets VI: Daniel (insiderbrazil.wordpress.com)
- Daniel in the Lions Den (brakeman1.com)
- The Test of Faith in a Den of Lions (webmasteryates.wordpress.com)
- Daniel (tylersheart.wordpress.com)
- Story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den (communitas.typepad.com)
Exodus is the second book of the Pentateuch (and Old Testament of the Christian Bible). It outlines God’s punishment of the Egyptians and Israel’s departure from bondage in Egypt, facilitated by the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, and their subsequent travel through the wilderness, as led by God through the intercession of the prophet Moses.
Although no Egyptian historical records tell of the parting of the Red Sea and Israel’s escape from captivity, the New Oxford Annotated Bible claims
There can be little doubt that the story rests upon actual historical occurrences.¹
Other respected, mainstream scholars concur that, while it was once fashionable to give too much credence to the alleged historicity of Jewish scriptures and, later, to conversely discount them as myth,
It is reasonable to believe that a good part of the biblical stories have a historical background.²
¹ New Oxford Annotated Bible , 1991, p. 69.
² Mircea Eliade, Ioan Couliano and Hillary S. Wiesner, The Eliade Guide to World Religions, New York: HarperCollins, 1991, p. 169.
- Couliano – Eliade guide to world religions (celclibrary.wordpress.com)
- Mircea Eliade (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Why is obscure Bible verse from Exodus trending on Twitter? (religion.blogs.cnn.com)
- The Bible in Our World (Lesson 2) (thebiblemeditator.wordpress.com)
- Exodus 23:1: The Bible Verse Inspiring Rap Lyrics – and a Rap Feud (entertainment.time.com)
- How did Moses part the Red Sea? (blueline2011.wordpress.com)
- Lineage of Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:13 – 27) (refreshmyheartinchrist.wordpress.com)
Elohim is a modern and ancient Hebrew word that denotes god or gods, making it grammatically singular or plural.
According to Catholic teaching, the fact that Elohim has a plural form doesn’t mean that it points to polytheistic understanding of God. It occurs over 2,500 times in the Old Testament.
The term Elohim is also used by Raelians to depict apparently all-wise, loving aliens whom adherents believe created mankind.
- אלוהים (Elohim) (eliezer40.com)
- He Says Concerning Himself “I am the Son of Elohim” (guapotg.wordpress.com)
- God, Elohim (hoagiestyle.wordpress.com)
When translating the Old and New Testaments from the earliest sources, the idea of of God often appears as “Father.” From early Israelite history God is, in fact, regarded as a Father and the New Testament develops ideas firmly rooted in the Old Testament.
Feminist thinkers like Mary Daly have taken exception to the masculine depiction of the deity, arguing that women benefit from female images speaking to and further inspiring the female experience.
Many progressive scholars, male and female alike, argue that to see God in male terms tends to perpetuate patterns of worship that closely resemble a patriarchal religious monarchy.¹
¹ For a good analysis of this issue, see Paul E. Dinter, The Changing Priesthood: From the Bible to the 21st Century. Texas: Thomas More Publishing, 1996.
- The Goddess is Back and Sex is Sacred (sensualblissvoyager.wordpress.com)
- Mary, the virginal mother of God, and feminist theology (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- The Holy Trinity and Mary (theskepticalteenager.wordpress.com)
- Who Can Call God “Dad”? (leadinguptoeaster.wordpress.com)
Most world religions speak of an inextricable link between faith and morals.
In the religious sense, to have faith is to try to please God and this involves making the right moral choices. At least, this is one approach to faith. Another approach is that you can do whatever you want and God will forgive you—providing, most would add, that a sincere attempt to stop doing the bad thing is made somewhere down the line.
Any discussion of faith and morals will likely include a section on laws. In the Old Testament the Jewish people are faced with a variety of laws, said to be from God and also to preserve and enhance one’s relationship with God.
In the New Testament, Jesus really only speaks of two laws—love God and love one another.
In liberal democracies today, laws are said to be based on natural reason. However, their impetus arguably is supernatural—that is, an awareness (based on faith and informed by grace) that morality is essential to the human condition.
So the supposed separation of the “supernatural” and “legal” realms could be seen as somewhat artificial. That point aside, one could also argue that this kind of distinction is not necessarily the same as the separation of “Church” and “State,” mainly because organized religions by their very nature contain not just supernatural but also political dimensions, as does any kind of social group.
- Faith (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Faith and Action (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Ethics and Respect Thrive with an Absolute Separation of Church and State (randomreflectionz.wordpress.com)
- Rick Santorum Says Separation of Church and State Makes Him Want to Vomit: VIDEO (towleroad.com)
The term guardian angel refers to the Catholic belief that we are guided from birth to death by an angel, assigned by God to each particular individual.
Similar ideas are found in the ancient world. In Plato’s Apology of Socrates, Socrates speaks of some kind of otherworldly agency that tells him what not to do but never what to do.
The Old Testament also speaks of angels that intercede for mankind, the most famous example being that of Moses leading the people through the wilderness. Here God tells Moses that an angel will lead him. And many Muslims believe that they are guided by two angels.
In Shamanistic and Amerindian belief, the guardian and guide may be in the form of an animal spirit.
Today, the belief in guardian angels is quite widespread and does not pertain to any single religious group or denomination.
Historically speaking, it’s long been believed that dark or evil angels can confuse people and compel them to sin, even to suicide. No doubt as a product of mankind’s sexist history, women, especially, were thought to be driven to the point of madness by evil spirits posing as loving presences.
Contemporary psychiatry generally downplays or ignores the possibility that evil spirits could influence a person’s behavior. Psychiatry does recognize the phenomenon of “magical thinking” but usually within the interpretive framework of a cognitive error or mental illness.
Many exhibiting so-called magical thinking probably do make all sorts of interpretive errors. But the issue here is the underlying cause. The medical psychiatrist looks to inherited, (apparently) abnormal predispositions and adverse environmental conditions which may, indeed, be present. However, psychiatry tends to overlook the possibility that these contributing factors could be part of a much larger dynamic, a dynamic that might involve evil spiritual influences.
- Angel Talk (theaceofswords.wordpress.com)
- Guardian angels (kitabikida.wordpress.com)
- How to ask Your Angel (theaceofswords.wordpress.com)
- Fools Rush In (davidscommonplacebook.wordpress.com)
- Lost & Found (logisticallychallenged.wordpress.com)
- Puppy Pile of Angels (mightyinspiration.wordpress.com)
- Elgar’s Guardian Angel – London Concert Choir sing Dream of Gerontius (classicalmusic.southbankcentre.co.uk)
- Angels Are Here (freedomperthought.wordpress.com)